Apple is known to be particularly fascinated with augmented reality, something that is evident yet again given reports of the iPhone maker having acquired the Canada based AR start-up Vrvana. The deal is reported to be worth $30 million though neither party confirmed the development.
As for Vrvana, their claim to fame is the Totem AR headset. Interestingly, the headset has never shipped but has come to be appreciated widely. The Montreal based company, however, takes pride in describing the headset as an extended reality device given that it incorporates technology from both augmented reality and virtual reality segments. The company claims the Totem will let users to experience both on a single headset.
Another unique aspect of the headset is that it relies on cameras, half a dozen of them, to capture the view of its surrounding. That is quite unlike the approach adopted by rival headset makers like the Microsoft Hololens that rely on transparent projection based display.
While Hololens is able to project a vague outline of an object on the real world, the Totem headset – thanks to the use of its cameras – projects full-color opaque objects, something that also makes things look all the more realistic. It is this ability to present both virtual and augmented reality that makes the Totem headset stand apart from the rest.
However, while the above looks cool, there is obviously a delay in the time taken to capture the outside image and projecting the same onto the headset display, howsoever small it might be. Vrvana CEO Bertrand Nepveu though explained the time lag with the Totem headset is just 3 milliseconds.
Apple, on the other hand, is also known to be developing its own AR headset, something that it said will continue even post the Vrvana acquisition. Apple had earlier said they would be releasing its own AR headset by 2020 and that it would be based on a new iOS derivate which has been named rOS.